Beef and Oxtail Stew with Parsnip Mash

Darina Allen slow-cooks oxtail to perfection with wine and fresh herbs in this hearty dish, served with a parsnip mash for wintery comfort
By Darina Allen
Beef and Oxtail Stew with Parsnip Mash
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8
  • Cook Time: 3.25 hours 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 25 g beef dripping
  • 110 g streaky smoked bacon, cut into 2.5cm cubes
  • 225 g onions, finely chopped
  • 225 g carrots, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 50 g celery, chopped
  • 450 g stewing beef steaks, cut into 4cm cubes
  • 2 oxtail, cut into joints
  • 150 ml red wine
  • 450 ml beef stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprigs thyme
  • stalks parsley
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tsp flour
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley, to garnish
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the mushrooms

  • 1.5 tsp butter, for frying
  • 175 g mushrooms, sliced

For the parsnip mash

  • 700 g parsnips
  • 700 g fluffy mashed potatoes
  • 75 g butter
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 160C/ gas 3.

2. Heat the dripping in a large frying pan; add the bacon and sauté for 1-2 minutes, until the fat runs from the bacon. Add the onions, carrots and celery and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a casserole.

3. Cook the beef and oxtail pieces in the frying pan until the meat is beginning to brown - you may need to do this in batches; add the meat to the casserole.

4. Pour the wine and 150ml of the stock into the frying pan. Bring to the boil, while using a whisk to dissolve the caramelised meat juices.

5. Add the liquid to the casserole and mix in the bay leaf, thyme and parsley stalks, the remainder of the stock and the tomato puree. Season with salt and pepper.

6. Cover and cook in the oven for 2-3 hours, or until the beef, oxtail and vegetables are very tender. The meat should be falling off the bone.

7. For the mash, peel the parsnips thinly. Cut off the tops and tails and cut into wedges. If the inner core seems to be at all woody, remove it. Divide the wedges into 2cm cubes. Cook them in boiling salted water for 15-20 minutes until quite soft.

8. Drain and mash the parsnips. Mix in the mashed potato and butter butter, and season well with salt and pepper. The texture should not be too smooth. Scatter with chopped parsley.

9. Meanwhile, melt a little butter in a frying pan and cook the sliced mushrooms for 2-3 minutes; season with salt and pepper. About 5 minutes before the stew is fully cooked, stir in the mushrooms.

10. Transfer the meat and vegetables to a hot serving dish and keep warm. Remove and discard the bay leaf, thyme and parsley stalks.

11. Warm 1 teaspoon of butter over a medium heat and tip in the same amount of flour; stir to combine, while cooking for a few seconds more.

12. Bring the casserole's cooking liquid back to the boil. Whisk in the butter-flour mixture and cook until slightly thickened. Return the meat and vegetables to the dish and garnish with chopped parsley.

13. Adjust the seasoning if necessary, before serving with the parsnip mash.

Rate This Recipe